Owings Mills' Darrius Carroll couldn't keep the smile from his face Wednesday. He was in the middle of his 285-pound match, his team was already winning big, and he just knew what he was going to do.
"I like to hype up my team," said Carroll, a senior in his second season wrestling. "My opponent had been doing a good job of staying off his back, and I just decided to give him a headlock. I was just having fun out there, and I smile when I feel I'm going to win."
Carroll won by pinning his Eastern Tech opponent in a stunning 38 seconds. It was the fastest time of the night and put an exclamation point on Owings Mills' 62-6 victory in the championship match of the Class 2A-1A North regional. That result followed the first-round match against Edmondson, which came in with a 9-1 record but found it was no match for the Eagles on a night when everything they did was right.
Owings Mills beat the Red Storm, 82-0. The No. 5 Eagles (22-0) advance to the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association's state dual championships Saturday at Linganore.
This is the 15th time in 17 years that Owings Mills has won the regional tournament. It was also Eagles coach Guy Pritzker's 455th victory at the school.
"We're not a one-man show," Pritzker said. "Eastern Tech is a good team. My team is just on today. You've had those days where everything just goes right. That's how this was. And we're an emotional team. One guy wins, and then the next and it just builds. Did you see my 103-pounder? He was getting beat, and then he throws in a spladle out of nowhere for the pin. That's our trademark. We wrestle for each other."
The outcome didn't surprise anyone here. Shortly after No. 3 seed Eastern Tech (10-4) defeated No. 2 Sparrows Point, 37-29, Sparrows Point coach Michael Whisner said he had no doubt how the championship round would go.
"This is Owings Mills' show," he said. "This is their gym, and it will remain their gym. They're at a different level than the rest of us and have the banners hanging in here to prove it."
Eastern Tech coach Kevin Cross had no illusions either but had hoped for more.
"Owings Mills is probably one of the best ever as a school at wrestling," Cross said before the finals. "To beat them it will take guts, heart and smart wrestling. Their skill level beats ours tenfold."
When it was over, he added, "We lost, and it was worse than I expected."
In Owings Mills' match against Edmondson, the Eagles earned pins in 11 of 13 matches. In the two that weren't pins, one was won by forfeit and the other by a major decision. Some of the matches started out close, but then, as in the match with Eastern Tech, the Owings Mills wrestler would just suddenly turn and pin his opponent. The Eagles continued what they'd started in the championship bout, opening with a pin by Warren Mack at 112 pounds and closing with one at 103 by Jason Escobar.
"It's been an amazing night," said Carroll, whose team is 22-7 this season. "We're going to states, and we're going to show everyone what we can do."